With 37.3 million people currently having diabetes in the United States today, it can be a striking realization that 1 in 5 people do not realize they have the condition. Why do so many people fail to find out that they have diabetes? There are many barriers to diagnosis, ranging from demographic and community obstacles to health care to the simple feeling that “it couldn’t happen to me.” With this fact in mind, it is quite important to promote better testing and diagnosis of both diabetes and pre-diabetes when intervention can be most successful. How can we encourage more people to get tested for blood glucose levels? Every November we honor American Diabetes Month, and that question is one of the top priorities for public awareness campaigns. In addition to the many other ways to promote better diagnosis of diabetes, one solution might surprise you. Hearing tests can serve as a warning sign of a potentially elevated risk of diabetes. Let’s take a closer look at this connection, as well as the benefit of hearing testing. If you find out that you have hearing loss, you might be a candidate for more advanced diagnostic measures to detect diabetes.
Hearing Loss and Diabetes
How can a hearing test serve as a warning sign of potential diabetes? You might be surprised to find out that these two conditions are connected at all. The solution to this puzzle lies in the nature of a “comorbidity.” When two conditions are considered comorbidities of one another, it means that they are more commonly present at the same time. In the case of diabetes and hearing loss, it means that those who have diabetes are more likely to have hearing loss than those who do not have diabetes. In fact, they are fully twice as likely to have hearing loss, meaning that there is a serious underlying relationship between the two conditions. Even those who have pre-diabetes are 30 percent more likely to have hearing loss than those who have normal blood glucose levels. It’s not as a simple as saying that one condition is causing the other, nor that you are sure to get hearing loss if you have diabetes. However, those who have diabetes or pre-diabetes are so much more likely to have hearing loss that they can be considered warning signs for one another.
Testing and Diagnosis
Since 1 in 5 people with diabetes do not know they have the condition, American Diabetes Month is a great time to promote better diagnosis. One way to encourage people to talk with their doctors about diabetes is to become aware of warning signs, and hearing loss is one of those signs. If you find out in a hearing test that you have hearing loss, then you can share this information with your primary care physician and others in your medical team. With this finding in hand, these professionals may decide to explore testing of blood glucose levels and other indicators of pre-diabetes or diabetes. With better testing, we can hope that the percentage of people who don’t realize they have diabetes will shrink. In fact, the sooner diagnosis takes place, the better able medical professionals will be to provide treatment and care.
Getting Your Test
If you want to celebrate American Diabetes Month with a hearing test, you can make your appointment right away. The hearing test itself is simple, painless, and quick, providing you with a full diagnostic report of your hearing ability. These results are presented in the form of an audiogram, a graph that shows which sounds are most difficult for you to hear. When you get your audiogram, you might find the results difficult to understand, so our hearing health professionals will interpret those results for you. We will also be able to use the results to recommend the right hearing aids for your individual needs and lifestyle. Why not schedule your hearing test right away? Not only can the results point you toward treatment for your hearing needs but you will also be able to use the results as a warning sign of potential diabetes down the road.